Determined to Slim Down
With incredible self discipline, Alea Shilling pushed herself to burn calories and lose weight fast
Name Alea Shilling
Job Teacher/Graduate Student
Weight before 203
Weight after 138
The Gain: Sure, Alea Shilling sometimes dipped into the candy stash she kept as a reward for her third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders. But what really packed on the pounds was eating out every night. “My social life revolved around going out to eat — things like pizza, chicken fingers, fries, and desserts,” she says.
The Change: Looking at photos from her trip toWashington,D.C., last New Year’s Eve, Shilling hardly recognized herself. “I quit making excuses,” she says. “And I started working on the new me.”
The Life: To start, Shilling logged 30 to 60 minutes of cardio, 10 minutes of abs work, and a 30-minute swim every day, coupled with 20 to 60 minutes of light weight lifting twice a week. Now she follows a lighter schedule. There are mornings when all she wants to do is sleep in, but she pushes herself to get up at 5:30 A.M. and exercise anyway. “I know that I’ll feel better the rest of the day if I do.” The same self-discipline applies to food too. Her at-home meals are mostly low-fat dairy, fruit, and lean meat. “When I go out to eat once a week, I eat a healthy selection of what I want,” Shilling says. Friends who are also health-minded help make menu choices easier.
The Reward: Now Shilling has the confidence to teach others to follow her example. She’s currently in graduate school for sports medicine and works as a swimming instructor part time. “I love who I am — inside and out,” she says. “I actually like to have my picture taken now.”
Reward yourself, but not with food. “You eat to live, not live to eat. Use other rewards for meeting your goals, like new clothes, new shoes, or anything that you really like but don’t usually get.”
Losing weight isn’t the only benchmark. “Weight loss is a good indication, but there are other measures too — body-fat percentage and increased cardio endurance.”
Same schedule, different routine. “After you do the same routine, your body adapts and you won’t see the same level of changes. So switch aerobic classes or use different machines. Try something new.”